When Good Things Fail

(Update at bottom of post) I’m never quite sure what to do when something I’ve raved about in previous columns fails on me. Do I trumpet its failure to the world immediately? Do I go through the normal customer service channels to get it fixed, or do I raise hell with their PR to ensure …

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Foleo, Foleo, Where Art Thou?

Caption competition: “Is this a dagger I see before me?” “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio” Now you see it, now you don’t Photo from BusinessWire It has the grim predictability of a company that doesn’t seem sure of what it’s doing, and what people want. Ever since Ed Colligan unveiled the Foleo — …

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An End to the Anonymity of Trash?

Britain is quietly introducing RFID (Radio Frequency Identity) tags to rubbish bins (trash cans) in a bid to measure the individual waste of each household and charge them accordingly. Some Britons are up in arms about this, saying that households have not been informed and calling it an abuse of privacy. Is it? The UK’s …

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Portability Over Quality: The MP3 Scam

I happen to be a new fan of Alva Noto, whose minimalist bleeps and hisses may not be everyone’s cup of tea. (My wife thinks we have mice.) Anyway, I’m also testing headphones so I’m sitting outside by the communal pool taking in his second album with Ryuichi Sakamoto (my hero; I once interviewed him …

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The Hidden Channel on MP3s

Why don’t MP3 files contain ‘hidden’ channel like DVDs do? Or do they? It would be a great way to cater to the modern remix culture, the podcasting revolution, the audio commentary and soundseeing movement. I wrote a few months back about podentaries, my ridiculous term for what I later found was already a thriving, …

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Urine, Corrosion, And The Decay Of Bridges

You have to feel sorry for designers, particularly bridge designers. How can you factor in all the variables that will determine whether your bridge survives? Take for example, a bridge in Palembang, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Built between 1962 and 1965, the 1,177-meter long and 22-meter wide bridge was named after the then …

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Bluetooth Jackets For The Hip – And The Hip-Replaced

Thanks to Martin Herfurt for this: A jacket that, via Bluetooth, doubles as an entertainment centre, complete with (1) hands-free set with microphone in the collar and voice recognition, (2) integrated headphone connection, (3) flexible keyboard embodied into the material and (4) docking station for an MP3 player with a Bluetooth headset: The HUB-Jacket comes with 128 …

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How To Eliminate Offline Swaging And Avoid A P-Punch

I read a lot of press releases in a day, but usually I try to read them in the early morning, because they seem to make more sense then. Don’t ask me why. But rarely do I enjoy reading a press release; they’re boring, self-promoting (of course), hard to decipher and often not closely related …

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A Word To The Wise: Fat Start Menus

A little trick not all of you may have been aware of: The Windows Start menu — and each column within the Programs submenu — grows in width according to the names of the programs and documents in it. Any long-winded name will immediately increase the width of the whole column, and all the other …

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